The University of Sussex

A survey of empirical studies of conflict in relation to CSCW

S.M. Easterbrook, E.E. Beck, J.S. Goodlet, L. Plowman, M. Sharples, C.C. Wood

To appear in Easterbrook, S.M. (Ed) (1992) "CSCW: Cooperation or Conflict?" London, Springer-Verlag. Conflict is a common phenomenon in interactions both between individuals, and between groups of individuals. As CSCW is concerned with the design of systems to support such interactions, an examination of conflict, and the various ways of dealing with it, would clearly be of benefit. this chapter surveys the literature that is most relevant to the CSCW community, covering many disciplines that have addressed particular aspects of conflict. The chapter is organised around a series of assertions, representing both commonly held beliefs about conflict, and hypotheses and theories drawn from the literature. In many cases no definitive statement can be made about the truth or falsity of an assertion: the empirical evidence both supporting and opposing is examined, and pointers are provided to further discussion in the literature. One advantage of organising the survey this way is that it need not be read in order. Each assertion forms a self-contained essay, with cross-references to related assertions.

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